A perfect fit

Rulander to continue running career at Allegheny College

Submitted Photo Warren Area High School senior Shyann Rulander has decided to continue her cross country and track career at Allegheny College in Meadville beginning in the fall.

“Allegheny College has a reputation for competitive running and top-tier academics,” according to Warren track and field coach Kevin Dustin.

A perfect fit for WAHS senior Shyann Rulander.

“Shyann was recruited pretty heavily by a few schools and I think she made a good choice for her,” said Dustin. “I have no doubt she will excel at everything she does at Allegheny.”

A former multiple-time region cross country and track all-star, Rulander put the icing on top of her high school athletic career by helping the Lady Dragons to an undefeated track and field season and region championship.

A couple of weeks prior, Rulander was named Top Female Track Athlete of the annual county track meet, winning the 800-meter, 1,600-meter, and 3,200-meter races at War Memorial Field. She was also a part of the winning 4×800 relay for Warren.

“From the very first day of running club, I knew that running was my thing,” said Rulander. “Just the fact that I could do the distances that everyone resented made me feel like an accomplished runner.

“Even though I didn’t participate in sports at a young age, I feel like my parents (John and Wendy) letting me have the freedom to explore my interests made me who I am today,” she said. “I eventually decided to try running and my parents gave me their full support. I have only competed in cross country and track.”

Some of Rulander’s earliest memories are running and sprinting with her dog.

“I finally had the opportunity to join a running club in sixth grade and started competing in track the next year,” she said. “In running club, I found that running two miles felt pretty easy for me. I started running with the distance coach and was very quickly running with some of the high school volunteers when they wanted to get in more miles. I went into track knowing that I was going to be a distance runner.”

Qualifying for the PIAA championships in her junior year of cross country made Shyann realize there may be a future as a college athlete.

“Even as a freshman, I had hopes of running in college, but was unsure if I could handle it,” she said. “My junior cross country season is when I decided that I did not want to leave the sport that had given so much to me.

“In cross country, the team bonding experiences stand out the most to me,” said Rulander. “In track, some of my most memorable moments have come from Saturday practices with breakfast, and me falling on the old worn-out track — in both workouts and a race. Needless to say, I am very grateful to have had a new track (surface) for my senior year. I love both sports, but I prefer cross country with its shorter and more team-oriented meets. The distance we race may be longer, but the time we spend waiting for our track events is sometimes longer than an entire cross country meet.”

Rulander is obviously goal-driven; being in a sport with a finish line doesn’t hurt.

“I tend to have goals of hitting new milestones in a given year, like breaking a 12-minute two-mile or 20-minute 5k, but I just try to give full effort when I’m going after new times,” she said. “I trust the training I have done throughout the year, which is much more structured, and this has allowed me to steadily improve my times.”

“The desire to set a good example for my team, stay active, and set myself up for college have been some of my biggest motivators,” added Shyann.

She’s made an indelible mark on two sports programs at WAHS.

“She is by far the best teammate you could ask for,” said coach Dustin. “She is always a competitor, but also the first one there to congratulate you for doing well. She is fun to be around, incredibly kind, and always has a smile on her face. She is incredibly driven, a hard worker, and will leave a lasting legacy for those coming up. We have had some amazing kids come through this program and she is, without a doubt, one of the top. I know for me and her teammates, it is going to be really sad not seeing her at practice any longer, but it will be exciting to see what she does at the next level.”

Her coaches and teammates have also had a great effect on her.

“I feel like I have become fairly easy-going for practices and race day,” said Rulander. “I still operate under the belief, if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right. But I have also learned that I run much faster when I am calm. … As a runner, I am much more talkative and outgoing than normal. Those who have seen me in both settings tend to agree.”

Running’s not always competitive; she’ll be looking for some new places to run around here before leaving for Allegheny.

“After touring many schools, I felt Allegheny had the best program for my major, a strong distance team, beautiful campus, and a community of people I want to be a part of,” she said. “I will be majoring in chemistry. I have wanted to pursue a STEM degree for a while, but it wasn’t until the beginning of my senior year that I realized chemistry is what best aligns with my interests and career goals. I plan to eventually go into chemical research.”

For just as long, she’s known she wanted to keep running.

“How close I was to leaving for college was settling in, and I realized how much I would miss running with a team,” she said.


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